Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 ESV
When I ran track in college, I knew the importance of looking straight forward and not focusing on anything else until I reach the finish line. Many runners stumble and fall on the track because they are distracted. Some runners get sidetracked by other runners that are faster than they are.
Our focus should not be on what others are doing or the way they are living. Staying on track in a crooked world requires mental fortitude and spiritual resolve. We should place a higher premium on pleasing God than pleasing human beings. It is God who has redeemed us so we can bear fruits of righteousness. We have to be mentally strong to resist the temptations of this world so that our light will not be eclipsed by the darkness of the world. We also have to have the spiritual resolve to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our understanding. We have to resist the devil and take authority over the demonic spirits that are trying to deceive us.
Staying on track in a crooked world also requires spiritual discipline. The instructions we need to stay on track in this world of darkness is in the word of God. However, if we do not read the word faithfully and hide it in our hearts we will go off track and walk in disobedience to his will. The word of God is given to us for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that we may be complete, fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In addition to the reading of the word of God, we also need to cultivate the discipline of prayer. These two disciplines allow us to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Moreover, emotional intelligence is paramount for us to stay on track in this crooked world. “Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others” (Psychology Today). In this world, we will have trouble, heartaches, and sufferings. Yet we are to manage our emotions so that we do not undermine our testimony. We cannot allow the attitude of others to determine our spiritual output.
The most effective way to demonstrate spiritual intelligence is by leading with love. Because love is patient and kind, it gives us the ability to manage the way we respond to the hurt we suffer. Without love, we may be prone to seek retribution instead of reconciliation. Through love, we can restore our offender in a spirit of forgiveness even when our broken heart is not fully healed. Since love is not self-seeking and keeps no record of wrongs we develop the aptitude to align our emotions with the will of God.
If we are to stay on track in this crooked world we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). We cannot live like the world. Our minds must be renewed, our hearts must be circumcised, and our spirits must surrendered to the Holy Spirit. The best way to do these things is by crucifying our flesh daily. We should aim to be, crucified with Christ, and say like the apostle Paul, "It is not long I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
We draw closer to God and further away from the world by crucifying our flesh. Our spiritual crucifixion enables us to be more tuned to the voice of God and more open to the leading of his Holy Spirit. Then we can bear more spiritual fruits and proclaim the gospel more fervently. The journey to glory can be rough. The world will try to eclipse the light of Christ in our souls as it pulls us toward its darkness. But if we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, will be able to stay on track as we run the Christian race.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please give us the discipline and the desire to stay on track in this world of darkness. May those that have gone astray find the courage to come back into the secret place of the Most High in Jesus’ name.